As creatures of habit, we all zombie-along with the same old shower routine, “lather, rinse, repeat”. We follow these steps, as if we’re washing on autopilot, mostly because it’s standard-- but that doesn’t mean it’s right. The reality is that most of us have been showering the wrong way. Surprised? Don’t be. Reason one: you probably don’t ask for shower tips from your dermatologist. And reason two: you’ve never used shower steamers. Just as the ancient Romans did, washing in steam is better for your health and hygiene.
What are shower steamers?
Recreating nature’s hot springs, shower steamers release a calming mist. Filling the air with fresh essential oils, it creates an aromatherapy experience at home.
Steamers can be placed anywhere in your shower: floor, ledge or soap dish. To use, simply rip open the packet, pull out the tablet and leave it in a moist spot. Keep your shower door or curtain closed, creating a hot-box effect as the steamer dissolves in the humidity.
A better way to bathe
While this style of showering may seem luxurious, it actually makes bathing simpler and more efficient. In fact, geothermal baths in nature are one of the purest ways to cleanse. "Fifteen minutes in the steam room opens pores, increases sweating, stimulates circulation, and eliminates toxins," says Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist in New York City.
Even animals bathe this way. If you’ve ever binge-watched BBC’s animal documentary on Netflix, you’ve heard David Attenborough talk about how the Japanese Snow Monkeys bathe in hot springs. So clearly our primate ancestors know what they’re doing (and so did the Romans).
Why steam showers are better for you
Your skin can detox
Shower steamers de-clog your pores to help detoxify the skin. The cleansing mist works to relax your pores, loosening any trapped grime created by dead skin cells, dirt and oil.
This natural cleansing process minimizes your washing time-- a safer alternative to long, hot showers. Spending too much time in hot water strips away the natural oils in your skin, which can lead to dryness and irritation. "Some people advocate extremely cold water for invigorating the circulation," explains Jessica Krant, a board-certified dermatologist with the American Academy of Dermatology. "Other than avoiding extremely hot temperatures, I say use whatever temperature feels best.”
So stick with lukewarm water — or cooler if you can handle it-- and no longer than fifteen minutes.
You’ll be gentler on your skin
Rather than scrubbing away with a brush, a steam shower is way more skin-friendly. The natural cleansing action of the vapors soften and exfoliate your skin naturally. According to Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic, scrub brushes are a no-no. “These can be too harsh and possibly cause microscopic scratches in the outer layer of your skin.” A steam shower, on the other hand, provides a deep clean, while you’re lathering soap on your body with your hands.
This showering method is much more effective and gentle for sensitive skin. You should also be tender, even after your shower, when patting down with the towel. Don’t rub the towel on your skin like you’re in a rush. “Rubbing can cause irritation and leave you itchy,” Krant says. “Patting also leaves some water on the skin, which should be sealed in with moisturizer after each shower.”
You can keep it natural
Shower steamers and soap with natural ingredients keep skin bright and healthy. Most generic versions, however, contain DEA (Cocamide diethanolamine): a cleansing chemical used in many beauty products. In 2013, the Environmental Health Agency (CEA) published a study revealing that DEA is cancerous.
Another ingredient to put on your watchlist is SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate). It’s used as a surfactant-- an agent that helps create soap foam. Although it feels nice, SLS is labelled as a “moderate hazard" because it’s been linked to neurotoxicity, skin irritation and hormone imbalance, according to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.
By staying clear of these ingredients, you can embrace a healthier and more natural approach to showering,
You can relax
The ancient Romans used steam rooms for stress relief and recovery. They included fragrant essential oils, like Juniper and Lavender, to calm the senses for hyper-relaxation. It’s much like the aromatherapy steam rooms in today’s spas, but with one key difference: the Roman bath houses were communal (meaning civilians bathed together).
Whether you find this image weird or weirdly tantalizing, it’s safe to say that your steam shower is usually a solo experience. So needless to say, aroma-infused showers are a clever way to bring the art of steam to your home.
Shower Steamers by Rocky Mountain Barber Company
Inspired by British Columbia's Hot Springs Cove, Rocky Mountain Barber has introduced 100% natural shower steamers. Releasing a mist filled with Peppermint & Eucalyptus oil into the air, they turn your shower into a geothermal bath. It feels like you’re bathing deep in the wilderness.
So grab your shower beer and escape into nature. With 6 individually-wrapped shower steamers that are easy to use, you’ll experience a more rejuvenating wash and improved sense of wellness. You can even relieve nasal congestion and seasonal allergies with the benefits of aromatherapy.
So it seems there’s some logic, after all, to the motto, “Do as the Romans do”. By going back to tradition with a steam shower, your standards will never settle for regular showers again.